3 Pins vs 2 Pins

I knew it put it somewhere safe but after 5 years, I can’t recall where.

plu

On your right hand sight is the normal plug (I suppose) in Spain. Well it would not be a big problem if the plug has 3 pins and I have 2 pin charger. I’ll just find a pen and make do with it but this is different. You can’t force a 3 pin charger into a 2 pin plug. That’s madness!

Luckily you will find that most Chinese thrift shops sell everything under the sun and see what I got for 90 cents?

Now I am looking for my tiny white magical plug converter and I can’t find it anywhere.

Fine. I’ll just shop again when I get there.

The Thing I Missed Most About Madrid

I told this to a tourist and he smirked.

“You traveled so far just to visit a bookstore?”

And I felt a slight tremor of doubt. Since when you can’t like something as awesome as a bookstore?

fnac

Well, it may sounds ridiculous to some of you but I happen to like FNAC and I would happily visit it everyday for as long as I like for the rest of my stay.

(Note: The photo was taken when I was in Bordeaux. I went to FNAC in Barcelona, Madrid and Seville)

I remember being in Madrid during the launch of PSP in 2005 and most of the population wanted to bombard the basement to see the launching. I literally had to fight them off at the entrance because I want to climb up the 5th floor to finish a book I started the day before.

I was always happy and it felt like a natural habitat. It’s the calmest place for a restless soul.

I wish I was there now.

The Journal (Part Two)

Here I am attaching some snippets of my old journal. I think it’s quite neat.

Somebody gave me this frog origami. I can’t remember who did. Like many things, I put it on my journal.

Our Spanish Teacher took us to see a Puppet Show in Bangsar.

Who would believe I still hold on to this simple┬ápamphlet distributed 7 years ago? The Puppet Show revolves around a famous Spanish novela that I found out just before seeing the show. I end up reading Don Quixote in my spare time – in preparation for the big day. Hoping for a long verbal abuse in a language that I struggle to conjugate, I was quite disturbed that the show was staged mute, except some sort of invented gargle used by the puppeteers to ‘set’ the story.

Spanish class was my only escape to another world. Every word, however small, was written again and again and I dug deeper and deeper looking for something that I have no idea what was it for. I was a voracious student and this only happened in 3 subjects – History, Geography and now Spanish.

So when the Profesor mentioned there was a scholarship to Spain, I knew I had to get it.

The interview was held on my birthday. I crossed my fingers hoping that this surely meant something. A gentle hint perhaps.

Birthday wishes to myself – 22nd

Now you can see that I like illustrations and colors.

It seemed forever but when the result was out, I was with my sister in a vacant cyber cafe. I thought I read wrong but every fibre of my being was shouting that this was for real.

Semester holidays never felt so good.

When I found out that I got the scholarship

I immediately did my homework. I looked for a house online because I don’t want to live with other students. That’s not how I roll. I wanted to get to know this city. Barely speaking Spanish, I picked up speed with simple conversation online. I was quite determined to get to my rented room without much hassle so as any nerd would do, I printed a copy of the train webs on a piece of paper and another is still in my head.

Memorizing train stops in Metro Madrid

I never got lost in Madrid. I can even guide tourists through the hidden maze around Sol (the city center)

Crazy thing, this adventure. Early in the morning, I swear I could smell summer sometimes.

Don’t Panic

I learned not to be panic when I’m lost. I imagine the World is a big playground and I’m on to the next see-saw somewhere.

It’s just a matter of time until I find it.

I once was lost in a place I don’t particularly like to be lost. It was midnight. My phone was off because I forgot to charge it and the address where I was staying was in the phone. I was alone. I can’t call anyone. I don’t know anyone.

I didn’t panic yet.

All the bars are opening. It’s about 12 AM. But the Madrid population doesn’t own a fucking Nokia charger, just Siemens! I went to about 10 bars before realizing that this isn’t working.

No. I can’t give up yet.

There was an old man sitting in front of his porch. I went and asked him if he could help me but he doesn’t own a mobile and his wife is inside…sleeping (what was actually he’s trying to imply, I still have a vague translation of it.)

No, don’t panic. Somebody somewhere would say YES.

Right?

I walked and walked round and round trying to remember what I couldn’t. I was only there once. Katalina invited me to stay and I figured it was awesome, since we could catch up what we left last 3 years. The last thing I knew about her was she’s married to an Ecuadorian. She invited me to the wedding but I was busy in Rome while the wedding was held at Budapest (she’s Hungarian) so we left it that way.

But earlier that day when I met her she said everything was falling apart. She’s separating from the husband but they’re still living together.

I hope you don’t mind he’s here, she said.

Oh, it’s o.k.

Everything was o.k until the husband told her that he liked me and would like to go out with me.

Well, this is awkward.

Even more awkward when the wife told me that she’s totally fine with it. Go, get to know my ex!

What? I can’t do that.

Why? He’s not your type or you’re just not comfortable that we’re not finalizing the divorce papers just yet?

I mean..I don’t…I just…(how can you explain this nicely to your friend? I’m here to travel, not to fuck your future ex-husband!)

So I figure I should stay out of the house as long as possible, read some books at my favorite store, walk off some steam, get to know some Spanish dudes and I just need to return home to get my beauty sleep in time and we don’t speak about this anymore which in turn the plan leaves me on the street homeless at 12 AM.

Don’t panic. There must be a solution to this stupidity. I am not sleeping on the streets tonight.

Not in Madrid.

I saw a cyber caf├ę nearby. Oh good! Katalina might be online! I can tell her to fetch me and I’ll be saved. Thank God for internet and Yahoo! Messenger.

I have too much illusion. She was not there. Only a friend in online and she lives in Newcastle-Upon-Type, United Kingdom

She can’t do anything!

So I did what I had to do. I said hi and told her what happened. I told her that I was lost and homeless and is panicking that I would be sleeping on the street. I also told her that if I hadn’t call her the next day then she can call the Embassy of Malaysia in Madrid and report me missing.

In my mind I had this elaborated things that would happen to me, as in robbed, raped, killed, tied, hang, abducted, not necessary  in this order. So this is my ending.

The friend and the husband were in the verge of exploding.

If I could listen to them it would be screaming and nagging. O.K. This is all my fault. Whatever will be, will be.

The c.c was closing and the owner, a guy from Cameroon asked me politely if I kindly go, as it’s 12.30 AM.

Oh dear! This is the deepest shit that I’ve been so far and it’s getting deeper.

Where do you live, he asked in Spanish and me, being a nice little girl told him that I was lost, that I only need a charger to get the address in the fucking dead phone.

I have a Nokia charger!

My hero! (my heart leaps with joy)

Can I use it?

It’s at my house.

Can we go there and get it? (by the way I didn’t realize the level of trouble I was suggesting because I was so preoccupied with charging)

He gave me that chilling-to-the-bone-smile and said of course!

So we walked and chatted. He’s a really funny guy. His mother tongue is French (you know how I love French) and we spoke French quite a bit. He was a nice gentleman born in Cameroon but the whole family is in exile. His father is a political refugee and they’re living in Madrid for that time being before they could get all the situation under control.

I’ve never met a person with such complicated situation in my whole life!

He bought me a drink on the way back home. I know you should not drink or take anything from any stranger but I was so exhausted that I didn’t care.

Nothing happened. I was not drunk nor possessed.

He lives on the 6th floor with other guys from the same country. None of them were there. After all, Madrid life started at 12 so they might be partying somewhere at Sol and coming back at 6 AM when the Metro starts operating again.

Where’s the charger? I asked.

I keep it somewhere hidden. In my luggage bag. Let me check. You might have to wait a bit. You want to take a shower? You can sleep here, you know. I can sleep at the living room, you can take my bed. (what chivalry!)

I was so tired and sweating a stream. I don’t even looked like me. Of course I said yes. He even prepared some clothes for me (it was the first time that I’m wearing a basketball jersey. I kinda like it)

So when I finished showering he was not there. He said (through the bathroom door) that he needs to go for a walk (a friend suggested he might want to buy some sort of protection because he is definitely getting lucky tonight) so I waited.

What took him so long? I don’t even know where did he put the damn charger.

I was not panicking because I have a roof on my head and about to be saved.

Only in my dreams…

When he returned, he took his time showering.

And then he let me know that he doesn’t have the charger.

What? Why would you lie to me?

Because it doesn’t matter. I am helping you and now you are helping me.

I don’t understand.

You. Are. Sleeping. With. Me.

[Don’t panic. Don’t panic. Don’t panic.]

Then he stripped.

Man, this can’t be happening to me!!!

Have you seen something darker than black? A black velvet perhaps? You don’t want to see a man with 6 feet tall, triple your size standing in front of you wearing nothing at all in closed quarters. Even the black of the night could not help you erase that image.

I avoided looking but I state my case, though shaken lightly.

I am not sleeping with you. You told me that you’d sleep outside.

No. This is my house. My rules.

[Don’t panic]

Fine. I’ll sleep outside, on the street. I’ll give you back your clothes.

Go ahead, I want to see that!

Fine!

Fine!

When I was changing, he was beginning to get more upset and nervous.

What kind of men do you think I am? Do you seriously think I would let you sleep on the streets? I am a gentleman! I am not letting you out!

But you just said…Fine! I’ll sleep on your couch, then.

No. You’re sleeping here, with me.

NO! You promised me you’d help me and I trusted you (voice rising) but you just tricked me, a helpless little girl and you think you’d get something from me…

Stop..shh..sh…the neighbors are listening! Be quite now…

NOW, you are intimidated of what the neighbors would say? Now??(voice rising) I can tell them exactly what they want to know!! Exactly!! You are a lying son-of-a-bitch and you are taking advantage of me!! ( I swear to God that we argued like a married couple. You don’t want to be begged by a black man wearing nothing, it just made you more cranky)

He said. I am sleeping here, in the same room with you. That’s final and you are sleeping here with me too. End of discussion.

Fine, I’ll sleep on the floor.

What kind of man do you think I am? (he keeps repeating this, gosh!) You are not sleeping on the floor. The bed is big enough for the two of us and I promise you I won’t do anything.

Yeah, it better be raining pigs tomorrow.

I promise.

Seriously, no one would sleep with a black man in the nude promising not to do anything on the same bed.

Absolutely no one.

But I did, because I was so sleepy and I know exactly where to kick if he plans to do anything funny of the sort.

He did keep to his promise. It was the longest night for me and I keep my view to the wall. Maybe he just needed someone to hold this particular night. I am being really stupid but I let him held me all night long (I can feel a bulge on my back but I chose to ignore) and I guess he was quite happy with what he got.

He even woke up early and charged my phone when I was asleep. He greeted me good morning and acted like we were good friends. Nobody was naked, nobody was screaming and we were nice to each other.

I switch on the phone and he even brought me to the address I had on.

You have no idea how I had to answer to Katalina, her husband and my friend and her husband in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

But I get out of that situation just fine. Nothing bad happened. O.K there might be a sticky-sticky situation to handle but look at the big picture.

I am fine and I don’t panic (most of the time.)

Moral of the story: Charge your phone, write the address on a friggin’ piece of paper or memorize it. Bring enough money to rent a hotel room. Don’t hang your hopes upon a stranger.